Nashville’s Saros is one of the game’s best backups; Spezza, Severson, Nash and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.
Juuse Saros – Nashville’s second-year netminder posted a 43-save shutout in a 1-0 win against Vegas. After three miserable starts early in the year, he has a .956 save percentage in his past nine games. Since the start of last season, he’s among the best backup goaltenders in the game.
Here is a look at the top goaltenders that have played between 20 and 60 games since the start of last season, sorted by the difference between 5-on-5 save percentage and 5-on-5 expected save percentage:
GOALTENDING LEADERS, 2016-2018 5-on-5 SV% - xSV%, (20 - 60 GP)
|Aaron Dell||San Jose||38||.937||.922||.015|
|Carter Hutton||St. Louis||47||.933||.926||.007|
|Jonathan Quick||Los Angeles||52||.928||.922||.006|
|Jaroslav Halak||N.Y. Islanders||57||.922||.918||.004|
|Keith Kinkaid||New Jersey||38||.923||.921||.002|
Jason Spezza – The veteran Stars centre returned from being a healthy scratch and scored twice in a 4-2 win at Detroit, ending a five-game scoreless slump.
Damon Severson – The Devils blueliner scored two goals in a 4-1 win vs. the Islanders after posting two points (1 G, 1 A) in his previous 18 games.
Rick Nash – The veteran Rangers winger had just one assist in his previous 12 games, but tallied a pair of goals in a 5-1 win against Philadelphia.
Miles Wood, Pavel Zacha, Kyle Palmieri – The Devils trio had a ridiculous game (19 for, 2 against, 90.5 CF%, 11-2 scoring chances) in a 4-1 win against the Islanders.
Mike Green – Detroit’s veteran blueliner had a tough game (5 for, 16 against, 23.8 CF%) in a 4-2 loss to Dallas.
Nick Bonino – The Nashville centre was on the wrong side of the puck (5 for, 19 against, 20.8 CF%, 1-13 scoring chances) in a 1-0 win over Vegas.
Kevin Labanc – San Jose’s second-year winger was thumped (3 for, 20 against, 13.0 CF%, 1-7 scoring chances) in a 3-2 shootout win at Arizona.
Nick Leddy – The Islanders’ top defenceman had a rough night (15 for, 29 against, 34.1 CF%, 10-19 scoring chances) and was on the ice for two goals against in a 4-1 loss at New Jersey.
Brian Elliott – Philadelphia’s slumping goaltender allowed five goals on 21 shots and was pulled after two periods in a 5-1 loss at the Rangers. He has a .861 save percentage in his past seven starts.
Ryan Johansen – Nashville’s No. 1 centre took a hit to the head from Golden Knights LW William Carrier and did not return for the third period.
Viktor Arvidsson – The Nashville winger was placed on injured reserve after suffering a lower-body injury in practice. With Arvidsson out, Johansen getting hurt and Filip Forsberg already hurt, the Predators are currently missing three top forwards.
Blues C Paul Stastny assisted on both St. Louis goals in a 2-1 overtime win at Toronto, and has eight points (3 G, 5 A) in the past six games…Devils rookie LW Jesper Bratt contributed a couple of assists in a 4-1 win over the Islanders, giving him five points (1 G, 4 A) in the past five games…Stars D John Klingberg and RW Alexander Radulov both had a pair of assists in a 4-2 win at Detroit. Klingberg has 12 points (2 G, 10 A) during an eight-game point streak, and Radulov has 10 points (3 G, 7 A) during a five-game point streak…Red Wings LW Andreas Athanasiou scored one goal and added a helper in a 4-2 loss to Dallas, and has eight points (4 G, 4 A) in the past six games…Red Wings rookie winger Tyler Bertuzzi earned a couple of assists, and has seven points (1 G, 6 A) in the past seven games…Coyotes C Brad Richardson contributed a goal and an assist in a 3-2 shootout win against San Jose, matching his production from the previous 18 games…Stars RW Tyler Pitlick had a strong possession game (18 for, 4 against, 81.8 CF%, 7-2 scoring chances) in a 4-2 win at Detroit…Golden Knights LW Jonathan Marchessault put 15 pucks towards the Predators net (10 SOG) in a 1-0 loss at Nashville.
Blues G Carter Hutton stopped 30 of 31 shots in a 2-1 overtime win at Toronto, giving him a .947 save percentage in his past nine appearances…Maple Leafs G Frederik Andersen turned away 40 of 42 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss against St. Louis, and has a .936 save percentage in his past 24 starts.
Scott Cullen can be reached at email@example.com